Box Elder mail-in ballots arrive with ‘review’ box filled in

Oct 31, 2020, 11:18 AM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 3:36 pm

TREMONTON, Utah – When a Tremonton woman opened her mail-in ballot, she said she was “disturbed” to see that someone had marked it with a pen.

None of the bubbles for any candidates or ballot initiative were filed in, but a box in the corner that reads, “review,” had been squiggled in with a pen.

“I just want other people to know,” said Heidi Hurlbert, who called the KSL Investigates. “This was marked. You can even feel the imprint from the pan. Somebody wrote that in.”

Hurlbert said she is an outspoken Republican, and wondered if someone may have tampered with her ballot to make sure it didn’t count.

“I know I didn’t open this and I didn’t color in that box,” he said.

KSL TV took the ballot to Marla Young, Box Elder County’s Clerk. She said Hurlbert has nothing to worry about. It’s actually her office that marked the ballot.

Young said all mail-in ballots have that “review” box filled in as a safety measure against voters casting two ballots.

She demonstrated for KSL TV how the in-person vote counting machines will reject ballots that have the “review” box filled in. The measure would prevent a voter from walking in to vote in-person, getting a ballot, and then scanning both the in-person ballot and the mail-in ballot into the voting machine.

Young said Box Elder has different vote-counting machines that handle the mail-in votes.

Young confirmed that Hurlbert is not the only person whose ballot came with a hand written squiggle. Most of the 30,000 ballots mailed out come pre-marked by the printing company but about ,2000 that came directly from her office were marked by hand.

Hurlburt’s ballot was among those that didn’t come directly from the printing company. She had become an inactive voter after a ballot sent to her in the primary was returned as undeliverable. 

Despite about 2,000 ballots arriving with the pen marking, Young said the inquiry from KSL TV was the first anyone has brought a concern to her office about it.

Despite the explanation that the ballot is indeed good and that her vote will be counted if she chooses to fill it out and mail it back, Hurlburt said she will be voting in person on Election Day.

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Box Elder mail-in ballots arrive with ‘review’ box filled in